Film makers frequently use prosthetic facial scars, burns and distorted features to indicate that a character is villainous or morally depraved. Such portrayals leave people with facial disfigurements in the real world vulnerable to being ridiculed, bullied, stigmatised and excluded at school, work and in public.
This is unfair, perpetuates prejudice and excuses discrimination.
Watch 'Leo' below to find out more. 'Leo' is currently showing in Odeon cinemas across the UK.
Although a facial disfigurement can undoubtedly pose a challenge to a person's self-esteem and confidence, many people adjust very well indeed.
They are lawyers, teachers, comedians, journalists, DIY lovers, parents, stroppy teenagers, doting grandparents… They fear for their children's futures, go out to dinner, have affairs, worry about the rent, dye their hair, juggle busy lives – just like characters who do not have an unusual face are portrayed in films.
Yet a recent YouGov survey confirms that ‘bad’ teeth, scars, burns and other conditions affecting the face are thought to be the most common indicators of an evil or villainous character in a film. People from ethnic minorities, those with disabilities or with hair loss are all thought to be portrayed in a more diverse way.
Freddie Kreuger, Elephant Man, Two-Face, Scarface and Cyclops are just some of the names that people – especially children – with unusual faces get called. They have to put up with others laughing at them, running away or reacting with disbelief that they live a ‘normal’ life.
Changing Faces is joined by the Birthmark Support Group, Body Gossip, British Red Cross, BUGS, CLAPA, Goldenhar Family Support Group, Katie Piper Foundation, Moebius Syndrome Foundation USA, Operation Smile UK, Sunshine Social Welfare Foundation (Taiwan), Vitiligo Society, British Skin Foundation, Healing Foundation, RAFT, the British Association of Dermatologists and BAPRAS in seeking an end to the harmful portrayal of characters with disfigurements on the big screen which perpetuates stigma and discrimination off screen for real people with unusual faces every day.